Should the U.S. have been involved in Vietnam?


Sara Kiess, is a freshman at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  She is doing  a research paper for her English class regarding whether or not the U.S. should have been involved in Vietnam.  These are my responses to her questions that I sent back to her.

1) Do you think the U.S. should have been involved in Vietnam?  At the time of the War, I believed that we should have been involved.  I still today believe that if we sign a treaty with a country, we have an obligation to honor that treaty.  I, however, do not believe we should ever become involved in any type of war or police action unless we intend to win the conflict.  In other words, let the generals do the fighting and the politicians use diplomacy in the quest for peace.

2) Do you believe the U.S. should continue to protect smaller or less developed countries?  If we signed a treaty with a country, we have an obligation to honor that treaty.  If there is a true civil war going on within the country, we should stay out of it unless Congress chooses one side of the civil conflict and declares war on the other.  Then allow the generals to do their job.

3) Do you feel the U.S. learned any valuable lessons from its experience in Vietnam?  Yes, if you are going to fight a war then fight it without giving the enemy any sanctuaries in the surrounding countries.

4) What feelings do you hold about the U.S.'s role and your own personal role in Vietnam?  I answered the call for my country and I went and served in Vietnam as a medic and I did the best job that I was able to perform.  I feel that my Country betrayed me by not prosecuting other Americans who committed treasonous acts in giving aid and comfort to the enemy.  My Country also allowed the enemy to have sanctuaries within their neighboring countries' borders and had no intentions in allowing us to win the war.

5) Do you think the media reports were exaggerated or wrong?  I think the media is probably accountable for 20,000 Americans deaths in Vietnam.  Tet Offensive of 1968 was a total defeat to the VC and NVA.  They would have, in all probability, sought peace shortly after the defeat if it were not for the yellow journalism of the news media.  This sensationalism added fuel to the student protesters back in the states and renewed hope to the spirit of the enemy.

6) Do you think the anti-war attitudes at home contributed to America's defeat in Vietnam?  Yes,  I also feel that those students who protested in America were guilty of treason by giving the enemy a source of  hope.

7) What other factors led to America's defeat? Soldiers in Vietnam should not have been given a 12 month tour of duty.  They should have been in for the duration.  As soldiers became proficient in their duties they were rotated out.  I would say close to 1/2 of the soldier's who were killed had less then 3 months in Country (I did not do any research on this figure.  It's just a guess).  As soldiers became short (ready to transfer out) they knew that their remaining time was limited and wanted to leave in one piece.  They did not want to do their job and attempted to avoid any enemy contact.  In other words, when they knew that they were returning to the States, they failed to do their job properly in Vietnam by trying not to jeopardize their chances of returning home.  I should note not all soldiers felt this way, but the majority did.




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